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Austrian actor Maximilian Schell dies, aged 83

One of Austria's most famous actors, Maximilian Schell, has passed away. Schell became the first German-language actor to win an Oscar in the post-war era for his role in the 1961 film "Judgment at Nuremberg."

Maximilian Schell passed away early Saturday in an Innsbruck hospital, according to his agent Patricia Baumbauer.

The 83-year-old actor died from complications related to "a serious and sudden illness," Baumbauer said.

His wife, Iva, was at his side at the time of his death.

He had reportedly been taken to the hospital when he collapsed on the set of a television production for the German channel ZDF last week.

Multi-faceted career

"I don't actually have a profession. I wander through life and through all areas of art," Schell once said.

Schell was born to actor parents in Vienna on December 8, 1930. With the inclusion of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938, his family emigrated to Zurich, Switzerland, where he spent the remainder of his youth.

The man - who later became the most-famous German-language film actor in the USA during the post-war era, appearing on-screen with some of the most famous actors of the day - began his career during the 1950s alternately writing, directing and acting for the stage in Switzerland and Germany.

Schell's film debut came in 1955 with the West German film "Children, Mothers and a General" ("Kinder, Mütter und ein General), followed several years later by "The Young Lions" (1958), in which he starred alongside Hollywood heavyweights Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift.

In 1962, the internationally acclaimed film "Judgment at Nuremberg" landed the Austrian-born an Oscar - the first to be awarded to a German-language actor in the post-war era - and launched him to worldwide fame.

He spent the following decades alternating between directing and acting, and also appearing in numerous American films.

Schell married three times. He and his first wife, Russian actress Natalia Andreichenko had one daughter- Nastassia (born 1989) - who later became an actress.

kms/jr (AFP, dpa)